Nicholas Yonge Society

Chamber Music in Lewes

2nd December 2016

Mozart Sinfonia Concertante in A K.Anh. 104 (320 e)
Walton Piano Quartet
Brahms Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Op. 26

Notos Quartet in performance 

The Notos Piano Quartet arrived in Lewes fresh from winning first prize in the 15th International Chamber Music Competition in Almere, Holland, the week before. Still looking very young, although they have now been playing together for nine years, the musicians first launched themselves with great spirit into a reconstruction by the modern British composer Philip Wilby of Mozart’s unfinished Sinfonia Concertante in A. This curious piece, with an extra cadenza written for the Notos by David Paul Graham, sounded both like and unlike Mozart at different times. Impeccably played, with each musician closely tuned into each other as well as to the music, this was an excellent start.

The Quartet then turned to Walton’s Piano Quartet, astonishingly written when he was only 16 but revised by him in 1974, which was the version played this evening. Full of energy, with echoes from a range of other 20th century composer, it ended on a note of ragtime. Brilliantly played, special commendation must go to the lead violinist Sindri Lederer, whose chin-rest snapped at a crucial moment, drawing blood. But he played on regardless, taking repairs both to himself and to his instrument at the interval.

Brahms’ Piano Quartet No 2 in A completed the evening. Also a comparatively junior piece for this composer, its lush string melodies plus their often agitated piano accompaniment filled the room with memorable sound. Each player’s individual technical excellence once again merged into a truly musical whole, leading to prolonged applause from a very well entertained audience.

Reviewer: Nicholas Tucker
Photographer: David James